Living with the Taycan 4S: Porsche’s first all-electric sports car.

Time for a quarterly update! Not that there will be updates every quarter, indeed this may be the last update until I sell “this thing of whiteness,”i even if that’s years away, but as with the Jeep, three months and 4`200kmii have been enough to clarify what I love and don’t love about this vehicle. We’ll break down these impressions on the 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S into three categories: Annoyances, Splendours, and Ambivalences. Buckle up, this is some hard-hitting consumer advice comin’ atcha. Without further ado…

I don't want no scrub

Taycan Annoyances:

  • Parking sensor mounted low in the front bumper so that it’s easily and regularly covered with snow, frost, dirt and debris and therefore rendered inoperative
  • Inconsistent turning on of automatic seat/steering wheel heaters on cold daysiii
  • Inconsistent opening of automatic door handles on cold daysiv
  • Driver’s seat left bolster is inevitably used and abused due to the seat’s positioning behind B-pillar and resultant ergonomics of ingress and egress
  • Sun visor doesn’t extendv
  • Bose sound system underwhelmingvi
  • Bass and treble settings are not accessible from the music menu, only the settings menu, which is awkward
  • Winter driving range around town is exceedingly, if somewhat expectedly, poor with consumption over 50 kWh/100 km around townvii
  • For driving modes, Normal is on by default, shouldn’t Individual be?viii
  • Steering wheel needs to come at least 1 inch closer to the drivers chest for ideal ergonomics
  • Back-up camera “fish eye lens” is wildly disorienting and always dirty anyways, so backing up becomes an exercise in listening for beeps
  • Lack of engine and ambient noise makes the cabin almost too quiet with two munchkins taunting and teasing each other in the backseatix
  • Navigation system doesn’t recognize Petro Canada Fast EV charging stations (200+ kWh) and so doesn’t properly pre-heat battery in preparation for road trip charging, leading to substantially longer pitstops
  • Panel gaps are infinitely better than the notoriously poorly assembled Tesla vehicles and are still very good if not quite the last word in perfectionx
  • Overall the exterior design is great from far but a few spots lack coherence or refinement upon closer inspectionxi

Taycan Splendours:

  • Suspension compliance: still the best thing on four wheels this side of a Ghost
  • Quietness: it’s so relaxing with ESSxii turned off and an absolute spaceship with it turned on. Win-win!
  • Turning radius (thanks 4WS)
  • Handling and steering precision make this thing an absolute weapon for A-to-B’ing around townxiii
  • All-glass roof is fantastic when driving under the “rainbow bridge
  • Home charging means no more gas stations around town and that every morning starts with a full “tank”
  • Non-black interior (“Bordeaux” in Sparky’s case) opens up the cabin beautifully and contrasts the all-black screens, dashboard, and centre console
  • Looks sharp even when it’s dirty!xiv
  • I’m not exactly Captain Planet but who doesn’t want cleaner air to breathe?

Taycan Ambivalences:

  • Storage space: it’s no Jeep but why should it have it be? The cabin is also less echoey for not being the soon-to-be-released Sport Turismo variant
  • Rear and side visibility: exterior aesthetics and safety have a price, if a worthwhile one
  • Touchscreen centre console user interface is a bit distracting and smudgy but could be a lot worse
  • Brake pedal modulation doesn’t get much praise amongst cognoscenti looks for RS product levels of feel but it’s still up there for a daily-use road car
  • The vehicle is much longer and wider than its compact looks suggest so the larger-than-life dimensions result in tighter-than-expected parking situations

And that’s pretty much what there is to say on that topic. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t have any other Porsche over this one and Sparky is firmly in the rotation now. Perhaps his greatest asset is that he provides a muchly appreciated contrast to the tall, loud, black box at the other end of the driveway, and just like having different pairs of shoes for different occasions, there are days when I feel like grabbing one set of keys over another, just depending on my mood, and that’s a wonderful priviledge.xv

Overall, I’m very much enjoying the Taycan 4S and it won’t be an easy car to improve upon, no matter my newfound penchant for tuning and fiddling. It’ll get some new shoes this summer and I’ll install the ski box eventually but I’m not really sure there’s much else than can, or should, be done? Maybe a wrap?  A full repaint if I’m feeling really wild?xvi

Anyways, that’s enough car talk for this week. Catch you next Sunday!

Shake your tail feathers

___ ___ ___

  1. “What is this thing of whiteness?” Porcelain? Or should I say Porsche-lain? Har-har. Anyways, Future-Sir-Edmund-de-Waal had me convinced that this was a quote from Melville’s Moby Dick but I’m simply not finding it. One interesting and possibly relevant quote that I did find from that 19th century epic pertaining to whiteness was:

    What is it that in the Albino man so peculiarly repels and often shocks the eye, as that sometimes he is loathed by his own kith and kin! It is that whiteness which invests him, a thing expressed by the name he bears. The Albino is as well made as other men—has no substantive deformity—and yet this mere aspect of all-pervading whiteness makes him more strangely hideous than the ugliest abortion. Why should this be so?

    Indeed, if moreso in 1851 than today, but why does Albinism shock us so while Aryans delight in equal measure? But for the grace of God we – so many of us in western culture, so un-Orientally, as Junichiro Tanizaki keenly addresses in his 1933 treatise “In Praise of Shadows,” obsess with cleanliness and clinical levels of sanitation – react to Albinism so viscerally, even if we culturally (ie. intellectually) accept it more than we used to, yet just a tinge of pigment in the cheeks, of vitality in the eyes, and we swoon? Does Albinism cross the uncanny valley? Is it too “mutant” and not enough “purity protected”? Yet what is it about whiteness that allows us to set up Allach porcelain factories inside concentration camps? I’m genuinely curious here. And I think all these questions are connected. 

  2. 4`000 of these 4`200 km were actually put on in just two months thanks to the long drive home and two other trips to the mountains, but with the lockdowns and all the other shenanigans lately, it’s mostly plugged in at home these days. 
  3. There will be -2C days when the conductive heaters turn on and -20C days where they don’t. Logic!
  4. They’re not motion activated and they don’t seem to regularly respond to my finger pressing the little indent tab on the handle, but possibly because my hands are half-numb in the winter and aren’t conducting enough heat to trigger the sensors.
  5. Seriously how is this fucking legal. Could it really cost more than $10 to manufacture a visor extender?
  6. The Burmeister sound system was like a CAD$ 7`000 option, which I might’ve been tempted to tick if I were ticking boxes, but alas, I was impatient and went for a demo car instead of waiting 3-6 months, and I don’t regret my expediency one bit!
  7. With a 93.4 kWh battery pack, that’s only 186.8 km of range! This is still plenty enough for a weekend’s worth of driving, but it’s also less than half of a full “tank” until ideal summer conditions, which just means that we need electric cars with 1`200 km of theoretical range before they’ll be a complete no-brainer for everyone who isn’t, well, a deranged vehicular hoarder. This having been said, even at -10ºC I was able to make it the 300 km from Edmonton to Calgary with 7% charge remaining. So driving at 115 kph yielded 29 kWh/100 km in winter highway driving, which is not terrible for an EV? It’s only at -25ºC and colder that the range really hits the shitter, which is fair enough.
  8. Is Porsche insinuating to its generally well-heeled clients that they’re “normal” rather than “individual?” That shouldn’t even be a question! But hey, maybe the GT3-fueled arrogance really does come from the highest levels in the organisation. What can I say, some people like being abused.
  9. They’re also that much closer to the driver than they are in the Jeep, and the ergonomics of buckling-up little fish are that much better in the big black truck so that’s usually my preferred vehicle for daddy duty, but almost never theirs! They seem to vastly prefer “daddy electric car,” probably on account of the full-glass roof, general novelty value, and the fact that the infotainment screen pulls up a variety of perspectives of the car, making it feel like a video game, if a very shitty one.
  10. The chrome on the wide window surrounds could line-up better if I’m being anal.
  11. Though you basically have to be Sajeev Mehta to pick up those few spots.
  12. Electric Sport Sound.
  13. In silence, ripping past someone at double or triple the speed limit is remarkably anti-anti-social! Or so I hear…
  14. White paint was maybe my third choice but so far so good. I haven’t washed the poor thing since I bought it but I couldn’t be happier about it. I’m about as bad as Chris Harris when it comes to cleaning cars. Wabi sabi ftw.
  15. If that sounds “elitist” and “detached from the real world,” don’t forget that most people alive today not only don’t have a single car but don’t even have multiple pairs of shoes, and maybe not even a single pair of shoes. Does that make you, the guy/gal with three, thirty, or more pairs of shoes “elitist” and “detached from the real world?” I’m sorry if this is news to anyone but there has always been and will always be inequality in our world, even if we understand that equality of outcome is very different from equality of opportunity. So it’s up to those of us with blessings to share said blessings with our communities. How we actually do that will reflect out time, place, circumstances, culture, and upbringing… but our non-necessities aren’t evil. Maybe I’ve taken crazy pills this morning that I even think this point needs to be stressed on this blog of all places but non-necessities are what make life worthwhile.* And I guarantee that my dear readers enjoy the shit out of the non-necessities in their lives, just as everyone else does! Even President Biden! Never even mind Cambodian PM Hun Sen! So before we go tearing down those more fortunate than ourselves just because it makes us feel like less of a failure for six seconds or whatever other bullshit, we need to ask ourselves what would be willing to give up to those less fortunate? Because no matter how unfortunate we think we are, there’s always someone more unfortunate than us who we must help, just as no matter how fortunate we are there’s always someone more fortunate who we must learn from. It’s up to each of us to look out for our families and communities to the best of our means and abilities, and depriving those more fortunate than ourselves of their social and political capital just because we happen to be bored with a keyboard one fine day (and are being nosy silver medalists/middle classists) means that we’ve deprived those with more more ability from working towards community improvement,** which is our singular societal objective to the extent that such a thing can even be said to exist. 

    Anyways, don’t hate the player, hate the game, blah blah blah, rah rah rah.
    ___ ___

    *I’m probably just more sensitized to displays of “non-necessities” because I grew up in, and continue to live in, a mid-sized government town on the Canadian Prairies. A degree of modesty and “getting along” are deeply woven into the DNA here, and my own in turn. For all my gypsy blood, a healthy degree of self-effacement is in there too (because the land doesn’t forget), which is why I tend to dress like a bum, albeit a bum wearing some of the finest fabrics commercially available. Not that I’m trying to brag about my modesty, that would kinda defeat the point, but more just explore the tension I’m experiencing (and that many experience today, which is why pseudonymity is on the ascent). Thankfully, as I mature, I’m finally moving beyond “proving” myself to absolutely every internet rando at every given opportunity, which brings us neatly to the “Bragging Razor“:

    Bragging Razor:

    • If someone brags about their success or happiness, assume it’s half what they claim.

    • If someone downplays their success or happiness, assume it’s double what they claim.

    The map is not the terrain.

    Indeed, with age comes, we hope, maturity, success, and even modesty. That’s not always the case. It’s certainly not the case of those select individuals that history tends to remember, but I guess I’m trying to let go of that ambition too, if just a little.

    **You might read “improvement” as “growth” but I’m not really sure they’re so distinct at either the individual or collective levels.

  16. Silver? Purple? My understanding is that a wrap is about half as much money as paint, maybe a third as much once you account for the full PPF after a new paint job, but does a wrap look too chintzy is the question?

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